Articles posted in May 2011

In the dark no one sees it

In the dark no one sees them
I’m a late convert to the Balconies. A while I still have my reservations about the ultra-dry production and dubious riff rock undercurrent, there’s no doubt that “Serious Bedtime” is a genuinely catchy pop tune. It’s especially effective how the vocals trade off between leader Jacquie Neville and her sidemen, with the frontwoman’s voice straining poignantly to reach the notes during the infectious refrain.

Go to Exclaim! to read my story about the band’s summer plans.

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Make it big and strong

Vintage mug shot
Today I thought of a really good name for a guitar-and-voice acoustic album: Singin’ and Six-Stringin’. Someone should make it! Dibs not me.

Vancouver songstress Christina Maria just released an eight-song EP largely comprised of stripped-down acoustic tracks. It’s called Tide You Over, and it contains the Canadiana-steeped track “Over Canada,” which you can hear below.

She’s got a show coming up in Vancouver on Saturday (May 14) at the Biltmore.

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I’m not nothing

Actually looks kind of messy
Last night was a late one. I did another overnight concert review for the Georgia Straight, this one featuring Keep Tidy, the Boogieman and Blanche Devereaux.

All of the bands were good, especially headliner Keep Tidy. I’m not sure the recordings quite do justice to just how awesome frontwoman Shmoo Ritchie is live, but nevertheless, the frenetic punk rager “Simpsons Quotes” is below. Her voice is nuts, so brace yourself. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to catch any quotes from The Simpsons in this one.

Download the free Basement Mold EP from Bandcamp. If you’ve got a low attention span then you’re in luck, since this has seven songs in eight minutes. Incidentally, if the name Shmoo Ritchie sounds familiar, it’s likely because she used to play bass in the Organ.

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These days with you

Happy about the thing on the left
I’ve been listening to a lot of Rose Melberg lately, so I’m thrilled that she has released an EP with Jay Arner (who performs solo and with Fine Mist). It’s got six songs from her most recent solo album, Homemade Ship, which have been reworked with electronic beats and an array of gorgeous synths.

Click below to hear the dreamy “Old Days,” which features a guest spot from Apollo Ghosts‘ Adrian Teacher. The whole EP is killer, so you should buy it from Bandcamp.

Head to Exclaim! to read more.

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Operator, put me through

Those things are gonna kill you, y'know
So the Kills are pretty badass, right? I saw them last night and was faintly terrified of them, which I think means they did their job.

My favourite Kills songs are the ones that marry mangled garage madness with melodic and atmospheric rock. I’m not quite sure how “Satellite” fits into that, since it’s an unexpected foray into slinky reggae. Listen below.

Go to Exclaim! to read my review of the show.

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Deeper than the aqueducts

In non-stripped-down form
Whenever I’ve seen Vancouver’s Role Mach live, the lineup has included a horn section assisting the band in lengthy psych-infused circus punk jams. But “Montana” is totally stripped back, featuring a guitar playing chiming licks while a bassist and drummer lay down a simple, steady rhythm. Combine that with some Lou Reed-esque vocals and a wordless hook and you’ve got an effectively understated winner.

This one comes from CiTR Pop Alliance Compilation, Vol. 2, which came out via Mint. I wrote about it for Exclaim! (twice).

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Mushroom cuts and baggy-ass clothes

Look at how young they are!
Oh No! Yoko is a band that will make you feel old. These Vancouver-based youngsters play spiky, keyboard-heavy pop and sound a bit like Tokyo Police Club on uppers. Lots of uppers.

Here’s “90s Kids,” a peppy tune about being born in the decade of Clinton and Chrétien. It begins with a brief Saved by the Bell clip and includes lyrical references to faded sweaters, mushroom cuts, Baha Men and Windows 93.

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Hello, your name is David

You guys win, hardcore rules
I’m not usually a fan of scream-y singing, but Fucked Up‘s new songs are all so awesome. The band mixes hardcore ferocity with a beautiful sense of melody, and that’s never more apparent than on “Queen of Hearts.” With it’s chiming guitar leads and gorgeous female backing vocals, this one could almost pass for Britpop were it not for frontman Damian Abraham’s gravel-voiced delivery.

Go to Exclaim! to read more about this track, and follow the links in the left-hand column of that page to check out the numerous articles I’ve written about Fucked Up in recent months.

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A dying man without a chance

Flying V of Foxes
I’ve got no clue who or what Kinzie is, but “Battery Kinzie” is a hell of a tune. It’s a lush baroque folk track by Fleet Foxes. It appears on the band’s new album Helplessness Blues. I’m going to see the Pixies play Doolittle tonight. This is pretty much the exact opposite of that.

I wrote a story about the LP for Exclaim! and did a show review. Sophomore slump? Hell no.

Thanks to One Thirty BPM for the stream.

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See the world clearly

He just blue himself
Chillwave is not dead! Washed Out has a new album, Within and Without, coming out this summer through Sub Pop. I previously wrote a story about the album for Exclaim!, and now the single “Eyes Be Closed” has arrived.

Holy crap! This one is totally incredible. It’s part Boards of Canada-style IDM and part ’90s electronica (think Moby). And then there are some reverb-hazed guitars and cavernous vocal harmonies that are pure Washed Out.

Stream it below or download it for free in exchange for an email address here.

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